Do Cats Like Hugs and Kisses?

Published: 6/4/2021
June 4th is Hug Your Cat Day! While the origins of this unofficial holiday are not clear, cat lovers everywhere are more than happy to have another reason to celebrate their favorite critters. Cats have won a lot of us over with their cuteness, charm, and distinctive purrsonalities. And while some of them like knocking things over and destroying furniture, they also make us laugh and provide irreplaceable companionship. 

It’s natural for us humans to show our affection for others with hugs and kisses. But what do our feline friends think? Before you grab your cat and smother them with your love, read on to find out if they like being smooched and embraced. 

Is It Okay To Hug And Kiss My Cat?

Cats don’t exhibit their affection the same way that we do. Each feline is also an individual, with their own personality, quirks, likes, and dislikes. So the answer to whether or not cats like hugs and kisses is that it depends on the cat.

Cats who are used to being held and kissed as kittens will probably enjoy these expressions of love, while those who haven’t had that kind of exposure will likely try to get away as soon as you put your arms around them.

Generally speaking, holding your cat tightly can be stressful for them. While you’re thinking, “I love my cat so much,” they’re thinking, “Something bad is about to happen, I need to get out of here!” Keep in mind that cats like to be able to escape situations. 

If you do try to hug and kiss your cat, be sure to observe their behavior and let that be your guide. If kitty snuggles up to you when you try to give them a kiss, then you’re good to pour on the love. But if they flatten their ears or dodge you, it’s a sign that they don’t have time for your weird human shenanigans. 

Cats are fickle, however, and their desire for human affection can change from day to day, so you can try again some other time if they reject you. Better yet, why not learn how felines show and receive love to avoid stressing them out?

How Cats Say “I Love You”

If you have a cat who sometimes ignores you, you may wonder if they love you back, or just see you as a source of food. But some signs of feline affection can be so subtle that they’re often misunderstood or overlooked. Loving body language from your cat can include:

  • An upright tail. A tail that is straight up in the air, sometimes with a slight curve at the tip, is a sign of affection between cats, but your furry friend will also use it to display their love towards you.
  • Face rubbing. Cats who like each other will rub their faces against one another. Your cat would do the same with you if you weren’t so high up, so they usually just do it to your ankles. If they jump on the counter, they’re probably trying to get closer so they can rub their face against yours. They’ll also rub their face against inanimate objects more often when you’re nearby. 
  • Snuggling. If they curl up in your lap even when it’s warm and they don’t need your heat, you can be sure that they’re expressing their affection towards you.
  • Grooming. The barbs on your cat’s tongue may feel unpleasant when they lick you, but grooming is just another way of saying “I love you” in catspeak. Licking is also their way of claiming you as a member of their family. 
  • Making certain sounds. Have you ever noticed your cat greeting you with a high-pitched, forced-air sound? Felines do this to greet people and other cats they like. And it’s widely known that purring is a sign of fondness.  

If you know what to look for, you’ll see that your cat is actually telling you that they love you!


How To Tell Your Cat “I Love You”

Instead of hugging and kissing your cat, which they may not like, show your feline companion you love them by doing the following: 

  • Blink slowly. Soften your eyes, wait for your cat to meet your gaze, then blink slowly at them. If they blink back at you, that’s a huge thing! Being both prey and predator animals, cats don’t close their eyes in the wild. So if your cat returns your slow blink, they’re basically saying that they trust you.
  • Bow your head slightly. The next time you make eye contact with your cat, try averting your eyes and bowing your head slightly. This shows deference and puts both of you on a level playing field. 
  • Play with your cat every day. Interactive play is not only a great way for your cat to get some much needed exercise, but it’s also a pawtastic bonding activity for you and your little tiger. Nothing says “I love you” like devoting your time and attention to your cat!
Whatever you and your cat's love language is, be sure to let them know just how much they mean to you during this year's Hug Your Cat Day, and let the purrs begin!
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